IntroductionExecutive SummarySection 1Section 2Section 3Section 4Section 5

Section 4

The Big Picture: Align with global initiatives

See yourself in the big picture. We can align with international initiatives and participate in global change. Elder abuse initiatives work from shared overarching goals of respecting human rights, supporting equity, and sustainability.

We don’t all have to do the same projects to achieve the common goals that benefit all people and the planet. In fact, the work of social change is to localize global goals, make them your own, give them meaning in your home and in your community. By having different experiences and ideas to draw from, and including everyone in the process, diversity becomes our strength.

Call for a UN convention on the Human Rights of Older People

Older people have the same rights as everyone else: we are born equal, and this does not change as we grow older. Even so, older people’s rights are mostly invisible under international law.

A UN convention on the Rights of Older Persons is necessary to enshrine older people’s rights. With a convention, and the assistance of a Special Rapporteur, governments can have an explicit legal framework, guidance and support that would enable them to ensure that older people’s rights are realised in our ageing societies.

Numerous organizations are working to mobilise campaigners and urge governments to support a UN convention for the Rights of Older People.


Hand holding up a globe

United Nations: Sustainability Development Goals

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.

At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.

Three of the goals align with Future Us and lend themselves to the prevention of elder abuse:

  • Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being
  • Goal 5: Gender Equality
  • Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities


Many communities in Canada are working to localize the SDGs. Similar to the action on Age-Friendly movement initiative noted earlier, if your community is already working on achieving the SDGs – advocate for explicit inclusion of elder abuse as a priority issue to be addressed.

The Decade of Healthy Ageing (2021-2030)

The United Nations Decade of Healthy Ageing (2021-2030) is a global collaboration, aligned with the last ten years of the Sustainable Development Goals. It brings together governments, civil society, international agencies, professionals, academia, the media, and the private sector to improve the lives of older people, their families, and the communities in which they live.  

Fundamental shifts are required to foster healthy ageing and improve the lives of older people and their families and communities; not only in the actions we take but in how we think about age and ageing. Two of the four goals align with Future Us: Age-Friendly Environments and Combatting Ageism.

The World Health Organization: Global Report on Ageism (2021)

WHO published the first Global report on ageism in 2021 with recommendations for action.

We must raise visibility of and pay closer attention to ageist attitudes and behaviors, adopt strategies to counter them, and create comprehensive policy responses that support every stage of life.
Hands raised in the air

The potential to achieve collective impact

The daily work of prevention happens in homes and communities. Individuals are supported in relationships with each other, in organizations, and in different kinds of communities. Organizations and communities are supported by government policies and funding. Each level of the social system aligns under a shared commitment to human rights, equity and sustainability.

The proposal to build and sustain infrastructure in the form of local, regional and national networks will create a circulatory system by which information, innovation and ideas can travel throughout the system. It will connect us as individuals. A pan-Canadian engagement strategy provides a broad umbrella to work together to achieve collective impact. Large scale social change is always possible. It just takes time, relentless commitment, and must involve all levels of government and the broader society.

Future Us: The Ecology of Prevention

Prioritize Prevention

In every community:

  • Learn to manage risk as a community
  • Provide funding for diverse groups to convene themselves and participate in community dialogues on ageism, elder abuse prevention
  • Train all municipally funded organizations

Train Professionals

  • To recognize, respond, and refer on elder abuse
  • About ageism and how to recognize it in practice
  • To apply trauma -and violence- informed principles to support equity orientation
  • To participate in community coordination
Image showing the labels: societal, community, relationship, and individual

Engage Governments

  • Prioritize prevention as a pan-Canadian goal
  • Recognize ageism as an equity issue
  • Align/Incent funding to establish elder abuse networks (local, regional, national)
  • Set a research agenda with community leaders
  • Fund projects that align and build toward Future Us goals

Teach everyone

Elder abuse networks provide training:

  • Recognize warning signs
  • Respond safely, supportively, effectively
  • Refer and find help

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